The first-year teacher of a “tough” eighth-grade class in Ontario got a pleasant surprise from a group of rowdy students during class this week. Though “Harry” and “Mark” are noisy, rude, and notorious for defying other teachers, they gave “Mr. K” the ultimate gesture of acceptance in the best way they knew how: With a rap video about marriage equality, of course.
It’s hard to believe that Mr. K hadn’t seen the video for Macklemore’s wildly popular equality anthem “Same Love” featuring Mary Lambert, but he hadn’t until Harry submitted it for “YouTube of the Day” time at the beginning of class.
“Now that it’s so close to the end of the year, I do a ‘YouTube of the Day’ with them every morning,” Mr. K writes on Reddit. “Kids can send in a short YouTube video for me to show to the class, I preview it, and if it’s appropriate, I play it. So this morning, Harry comes up to me and says, “I have a video I want to play.”
Though it wasn’t previously approved, Mr. K says he allowed Harry to play the video. He was skeptical, given Harry’s preference for “non-school-appropriate” music, but gave in once Harry promised it would be epic.
So he goes on over and pulls it on up, and on comes a song I have never heard before. The artist is rapping about growing up gay, about the struggles of being gay, and about standing up in the face of hatred and homophobia. “Same Love,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The video (linked) was beautiful.
And there’s Harry, proudly watching along with the rest of the class as the artist stands up for those gay kids who struggle, and the video shows a difficult, lonely life culminating in a fabulous wedding. Harry. My “tough kid.”
The video finishes, the kids applaud, and I thank him, and he says to me, “I told you you’d like it.”
And then his loud, rude friend Mark says: “That was for you, Mr. K.”
The whole class applauded again – for me this time – and then I cried. I cried the proudest tears I have ever shed.